Andrew BondUnited Kingdom
Wow! How time flies. It has been nearly three months since I posted on this blog. Since the last time, Essen has been and gone and we are now all preparing for Xmas.
I still have half my haul of games from Essen to receive. In a mad display of guilt on return from Germany, I gave four of my purchases to my wife for safekeeping until Xmas day. Leaving me to feast on the ones I couldn't bear to hand over in the immediate game convention aftermath.
So, I have enjoyed (in slight order of preference):
Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar (now with a mini expansion from Spielbox magazine, Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Mini Expansion 1)
Last Sunday I playtested Extra! Extra! with the London Playtest Group and then again on Thursday with Epsom Games Club. Add to that an outing with the newly formed Tuesday Club, and I have got a lot of feedback to go on developing this game.
Major outcomes from this renewed activity are as follows:
the new card drafting mechanism works extremely well, so that stays. Cards get placed in one of six continents (as indicated on the cards themselves) and result in a variable 'offer' each turn for the players to bid on
the region cards that were meant to allow you to claim stories with cards from different sets, but from the same continent, are far too complicated. Their design is poor and their intention opaque. I have therefore removed this idea from the game
the addition of 'local reporters', which players can claim with one of six cards (one for each continent), adds an interesting element to the game play. The local reporter can only be used in his specific continent, but he wins ties with equal fees, which makes him powerful (there only). The mechanism did not feel unbalanced, but I need to test this extensively to make sure it does not turn not a guaranteed winning strategy
the news wire edge of the board was hardly used at all in the first two playtests, so I tried something different with the third. Now there is no need to place a reporter in the news wire to collect a card there (but you still have to pay £1 for that card). Instead, you play a 'joker' card that you have previously picked up at the news desk. It means that players have more opportunities to claim stories without getting blocked, aside from collecting cubes as half-card jokers